Overclocking and Conclusion
Since the BFG 5900XT was already overclocked to some degree, it might seem odd that we would look to overclock it even further, but based on past results with this GPU we were confident that we could push this card's clock speeds quite a bit higher. BFG doesn't provide any fancy software, but the Coolbits registry hack is quite easy to find, it works easily enough, and heck, it's free.
We were able to get an additional boost of 45MHz to the GPU, as well as 40MHz on the memory. It doesn't sound like a lot, but remember that this card already comes clocked at 430/735 instead of the standard 390/700. As seen in the graph, e-VGA's 5900XT would be considered the base, scoring 16.27 fps in this benchmark. Out of the box, BFG's 5900XT OC added an additional frame and a quarter in AquaMark 3, which was set at 4XAA and 4X Anisotropic Filtering (by default). By overclocking this card even further, we were able to gain almost one more frame per second. This related to a performance increase of 5.5 percent over the original score, and 13.5 percent over the e-VGA model at stock speeds.
For the purpose of this review, we'll finish off slightly different from our normal practice, but the ends will justify the means. We're giving the BFG 5900XT OC an 8 on the HotHardware Heat Meter.
Now, we can hear you saying, how can we give this card, which good image quality and finished first in almost every benchmarks, an 8 out of 10 when we just gave Pixelview an 8.5? First, we fully expected this card to beat out the other cards in the mid-range market - there's no surprise there. Also, it comes overclocked right out of the box, meaning that all other things being equal, it's more powerful than any standard GeForce FX 5900XT.
Don't get us wrong, we fully appreciate having that extra horsepower under the hood without having to do any additional tinkering. And less experienced users will probably appreciate it even more so...
But, that's where the goodies end. Other than the pre-overclocked status of the BFG 5900XT OC's GPU and its lifetime warranty, there's not much else that differentiates the card from its competition. There's no real software bundle, or extra cabling that complement the card's capabilities. The card comes overclocked, but it really isn't too much of a chore to simply download Coolbits and raise the clock speed yourself. The final coup d'grace is that a card that is labeled with "OC" in the title didn't actually overclock any higher than the Prolink Pixelview 5900XT we previously reviewed (480MHz to 475MHZ for the GPU). Added to this bit of irony is the fact the BFG 5900XT OC actually costs more than the Pixelview 5900XT, and you begin to see our point. The end result is a perfectly good card that will perform well for most users, but it's not necessarily the best option out there for the money.